A Book Review of Kenneth C. Davis’s A Nation RisingBy: Kaitlyn Woodall American History 201 Mrs.Whitmire December 5, 2017Introduction A Nation Rising, Kenneth C. Davis tells the story of the “black hole” in American History.
He presents a series of political events that occurred during 1800-1850 that shaped our nation and it’s political views. HeIn describes in several different chapters what occurred during this period of the US. This paper will review Davis’s view as well as his main arguments, and will explain the untold tales of American History.
Summary This book seeks to explore the ideals that birthed our nation-All men are created equal- and parallel that with the fact that so many founders owned slaves and also condoned the genocide of Native Americans. A contemplation on irony versus cultural norms. The time period discussed in this book is from 1800 to 1850. During this time America became a nation from “sea to shining sea”. It was a time of discovery, growth, and exploration for the United States. In 1800, the federal government moved from Philadelphia to our now nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. A year later, Thomas Jefferson becomes the third president of the United States and Aaron Burr became his Vice President.
This would soon prove to be a mistake. Aaron Burr was arrested in Alabama for treason on February 19, 1807. Burr fell to what many powerful men do, the pursuit of more. Burr had conspired to conquer Mexico and perhaps even parts of the United States in order to forge an independent empire on the frontier.
Burr was later acquitted on the grounds that although he conspired against the US, he was not guilty of treason because he had not engaged in an “overt act” of treason. William Weatherford, also known as Red Eagle was a Creek Chief and leader in the Creek War of 1813 against lower Creek towns and against allied forces of the United States. Weatherford was a mixed race descendent of Southeast Indians who intermarried with European traders and later colonial settlers. He was of mixed Creek, French, and Scots ancestry. He was raised as a Creek and after the Creek War he rebuilt his wealth as a slaveholding planter in lower Monroe County, Alabama.
Irony at it’s best. The Shawnee chief Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskwatawa, also known as the prophet began a campaign to create a Native American tribal confederacy to resist the Westward movement of the Americans. American settlers living in Spanish Florida rebel against Spain, seizing the fort at Baton Rouge. This act leads to President Madison annexing the Territory of Orleans.
These are few of many topics that show the hypocritical saying that “all men are created equal”, was not true until later America In November of 1841, a ship named Creole was involved in US coastwise slave trade. Aboard the ship 128 American slaves revolted and ordered the ship sailed to Nassau. This has been referred to as the most successful slave revolt in history. Two people died as a result of the revolt, a black slave and a white slave trader.
Though the loss of lives wasn’t great, the victory spoke volumes as to how the institution of slavery both destroyed lives and warped our notes ation’s founding. On Friday, May 3, 1844, the American Republican Party an anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic Protestant group also known as the Nativist Party, set up the “save the bible” rally in Philadelphia(p.185).
Nativism is the policy of promoting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants. The Catholic bishop, Francis Patrick Kenrick, was trying to remove bibles from public schools. This created a great outrage among the the Philadelphia Protestants because of their strong belief in Christianity. In one area of the country people were against immigration and supporting native inhabitants and in another area of the country native tribes were fighting for the right to stay on their own land. Author’s Argument In the book A Nation Rising, the author’s argument is that although the founders believed ” all men are created equal they still owned slaves and they also supported the genocide of Native Americans.
This statement is very hypocritical and that is why Kenneth C. Davis argues against it. ‘Davis evokes the raw and violent spirit not just of an “expanding nation”, but of an emerging and aggressive empire.’-Ray Raphael. There are many examples of these hypocritical actions, such as the Creek War of 1813. Davis looks closely at the trials of Aaron Burr, the Seminole war, the struggle against slave rebellions and the bible riots as examples of such ambiguous political opinions in our nation’s history.
Evaluation This section contains an evaluation of A Nation Rising. This book shows the many reasons the founding fathers were hypocritical. The book is divided into six different chapters. These chapters show us different sections of American history throughout 1800-1850. A weakness in Davis’s writing style is that he seems to be biased against early America.
His opinion is obvious throughout the book without putting into consideration cultural/social/territorial differences of that time period that were exclusive to that era. Though he presents a good argument on the ironic political events of that time period, he does not give an accurate example of social and cultural norms that affected those events. Conclusion In conclusion, this critical review has evaluated A Nation Rising by Kenneth C.
Davis. This book outlines multiple events from 1800-1850 that grew our country from a tiny, newborn nation into a near-empire that spanned the continent. During these times of growth our country experienced many events including Aaron Burr’s trial, the Indian uprising and ensuing massacre, the mutiny aboard the slave ship, Creole, and the bloody bible riots of Philadelphia. These events exposed the powerful conflicts that were at the heart of America’s expansion as well as that the notion that all men are created equal had definitely not been adopted by all of our country’s pioneers.